Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.
From your description, it sounds like you are in a very abusive relationship. Your husband has tried to control you, has hit you and abused you emotionally. It is very likely he will never see his actions as wrong and never get better. Most people who abuse others do not see their behavior as wrong and therefore it is likely that he would not only continue to hurt you, but he could possibly kill you. Whether or not he has ever been nice to you now or in the past is not important. Most abusers will have times they are nice or even kind to their victims. That is often part of the cycle of abuse. They either feel sorry for their actions for a brief period or they act kind in order to keep you in the relationship. No matter what, however, they always continue the abusive behavior.
The other consideration is what your children are being exposed to. Even if your husband is nice to the children, they are witnesses to his abuse. Seeing abuse, especially of a loved one, is extremely traumatic. Children are even more affected because they are helpless to stop the abuse. Children often suffer from anxiety, nightmares, anger and physical symptoms as a result of witnessing abuse. It is also possible that your children may repeat the abuse as adults because they think abuse is a normal part of a marriage or relationship.
Because of your husband's behavior, your safety and your children's safety is the highest priority. If you are not already in a safe place, get to one. Stay with a relative, especially a male one, or seek help from a shelter. Domestic abuse shelters are equipped with staff that know how to keep you and your children safe. They have the resources to help you get out of your marriage and into a safer environment. They can also help you get on your feet so you can support yourself and your children.
Go to the magistrate or police and file a PFA. This is a protection from abuse order that makes it mandatory that your husband stay away from you. If you file and see your husband around or if he contacts you, you can call the police and let them know you have a PFA. This also helps in a divorce since the judge will see that your husband has a violent past.
See a therapist and if possible, have your children in therapy as well. You all have been through a very traumatic experience and talking to someone can help a lot. Having a therapist work with you can also help you explore the reasons why you were in an abusive relationship and how to avoid one in the future. Also, it can prevent you from going back to your husband in a moment of weakness. Abusers are often good manipulators and can sometimes be very convincing about changing their ways. A therapist can help you prepare for this possibility as well as work on your self esteem so you feel better about yourself and don't feel tempted to go back into an abusive situation.
Here are some resources to help you:
Remember, abusers can hurt you physically but also emotionally as well. You do not have to bleed, show bruises or have any broken bones to be considered a victim. Emotional abuse can be just as powerful and hurtful as physical abuse. So no matter what, if your husband hurts you and doesn't respect you, treats you as an equal or takes care of you in a healthy way, you are being abused. Do not deal with this alone. Seek help from police, family, friends, domestic abuse shelters and therapists. You can recover from this and lead a happy, healthy life, as can your children.
I hope this has helped you,
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